Le Puy-en-Velay

Girl leaves Lyon, France to head to her Camino starting point: Le Puy-en-Velay. One train and one un-air-conditioned bus later, she arrives. She hikes up out of the city 15 minutes to her cabin home away from home. She arrives two hours before she planned, and the owners are not there. There is a note on the door that says early arrivals can call a cell phone number, but the girl did not yet get a French Sim card for her phone and so cannot call. She thinks about sitting under the shade of a tree and writing for the next two hours. But her intuition tells her to go into town. And so she does.

She descends back into the city, attains the SIM card, and then walks through a square only to hear someone calling her name. She looks up and is delighted to see her Camino friend from Asheville, David Vaughn, sitting at a table on a terrace overlooking the square. He began his third camino in Geneva a couple weeks ago. She and he had emailed and discovered that perhaps they would be in the same town on the same day. But neither had made any plans for how to find each other. I just figured I’d sit in one of the squares with a good view of all the people going by, and maybe I’d find you,” David told her.

She had met David only once but in that short time she learned he was a minimalist living in a 700 square-foot house and therefore she wanted to learn more about him. She is thrilled to be able to connect with him over a glass of lemonade in Place du Caizel–a world away from where they met.

They sit fully engaged in each other’s stories. They talk over drinks until she has to hike back up to her cabin to meet her hosts.
They later meet for dinner and, as often happens on the Camino, conversation quickly deepens. She learns he has a son her age. They talk of their families, their childhoods, and the generosity of their mutual Camino friends in Asheville, Chris and Esther. They climb the stairs up to the cathedral. It is closed for the day, but they sit looking out at the view of Le Puy as they talk of time, busyness, and the tendency to live in the past or the future instead of the present.

Me, delighted to have yet another travel companion to take my picture. Note that this is my “Camino dress.” My mother bought it for me prior to my first Camino and it’s been on every Camino since.

The view from the cathedral stairs


They do their best to stay awake as darkness falls so they can view the Lumières– The light shows the town has every night from May to September on five of its historic buildings around the city. They begin at 10:15 with the show at the theater, then walk over to see the one at the Hôtel de Ville, and finally the show at the Cathedral.

The light show at the Cathedral. Note this was taken from nearly the same place as the picture of me earlier in this post.


She had heard there were many interesting sites in the city and so had plans to stay for two nights. Earlier in his Camino, he had decided to do the same. “What time would you like to meet tomorrow?” she asked. He said, “How about you plan the itinerary for the day. Someone tells me you’re very good at that.” She laughed knowing it was probably Chris who divulged her determination to prepare and plan (sometimes too much!) for her Camino travels. They parted ways looking forward to exploring the city’s wonders the next day.

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3 thoughts on “Le Puy-en-Velay

  1. I notice you have not wasted your time since you have arrived in Europe: Madrid, Lyon, le Puy. During the next days, it will be better to walk soon in the morning because the weather will be probably very hot.
    Rémy.

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